The Process Begins

Joshua Groom


A timeline of how the proposal is expected to progress, based upon information from acting Vice President for Student Learning Bayta Maring. Graphic: Joshua Groom

SCC’s board of trustees approved a measure two months ago to begin the process for the school to offer a baccalaureate program.

The college hopes to offer a Bachelors of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene (BASDH) after going through a few bureaucratic hurdles, according to Bayta Maring, SCC’s acting vice president of student learning (VP-SL).

“We are exceptional in dental hygiene,” said SCC President Cheryl Roberts. The additional accreditation is intended to offer more value to the students in the current program, she said.

By doing so, SCC will keep pace with the rest of Washington’s community colleges offering programs in dental hygiene. Of the nine that offer a program in dental hygiene, seven offer a BASDH, according the measure adopted by the board of trustees.

Furthermore, out of all 34 community colleges in Washington, SCC is among five community colleges in the state that does not offer any baccalaureate level degrees.

The proposal is scheduled to be presented to the state board of education May 2, Maring said. The college has already provided a “statement of need” to that board.

Assuming passage of the proposal, the school will then need to apply to the Northwest Committee on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) for a change in accreditation to allow for the BASDH program. That process will take between six months and a year, Maring said.

Maring emphasized that the proposal is still in its early stages, though the college anticipates approval. Roberts said she anticipates the program will take at least two years to launch.

SCC has set up a “task force” to work on the BASDH proposal that included Maring in her previous role as executive director of institutional assessment and data management, as well as Aparna Sen, the dean of health occupations and physical education, and Maryrose Bellert, the director of the dental hygiene program. Director of Research and Grants Lisa Malik took Maring’s position on the task force when Maring became acting (VP-SL).

Courses over the second two years of the degree would be largely online, Maring said.

Bellert did not respond to a request for comment on further details of the program’s curriculum.

Roberts declined to comment on the cost of implementing the proposal.

Once accredited for the BASDH, SCC will be able to offer Bachelors of Applied Science (BAS) programs in other areas of studies without re-applying to the NWCCU. They will still need to apply to both the SCC board of trustees and state education board.